Editor’s Note: This story was updated with a statement from the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
(NEXSTAR) — As lawmakers continue to try to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month, many are growing concerned about how it could affect them, especially when it comes to federal monthly payments they receive.
The government could shut down by the end of the week, if Congress isn’t able to pass a spending bill. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy vowed last Wednesday he would not give up trying to persuade his colleagues to pass a temporary funding bill.
Still, the shutdown looms.
So what would that mean for your Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, or Veterans Affairs payments?
In short, they will not be impacted.
Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are funded through separate processes, unlike other programs that require renewal (those are impacted by the current budget discussions).
Many benefits provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs would also still be available.
During a press conference Friday, Secretary Denis McDonough said the department is “working very diligently in preparation for a lapse in funding.”
“…In the case of a shutdown, there would be no impact on Veteran healthcare; burials would continue at VA national cemeteries; VA would continue to process and deliver benefits to Veterans, including compensation, pension, education, and housing benefits; and the Board will continue to process appeals,” McDonough explained, echoing the department’s contingency plan (the most recent was last updated in 2021).
He added, however, that certain resources would be restricted.
“we would not be able to conduct outreach to Veterans; our public-facing regional offices would be closed; and many regular operations like career counseling, transition assistance, and cemetery grounds maintenance would not be available,” McDonough said. “So, this is why I’ve been saying that we need a full year appropriation – especially at a time when we’re providing more care and more benefits to more Veterans than ever before – and that’s why we’ve been so supportive of the bipartisan budget agreement that was struck several months ago.”
Ultimately, if you receive payments from these agencies, you still will in October, regardless of whether the government shuts down. As McDonough noted, you may, however, have a hard time contacting someone within their respective agencies as some may undergo furloughs during a potential shutdown.
While every federal agency is required to have a contingency plan in the event of a shutdown, it’s unclear how exactly a potential Oct. 1 shutdown would impact government operations, but services deemed essential would remain intact.
That includes border protection, federal law enforcement, and air traffic control, CNN explains. The U.S. Postal Service would also continue its duties, since it is funded separately.
What’s the latest on shutdown talks?
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy emerged with a spending cut plan to prevent a federal government shutdown by appeasing his hard-right flank, only to see it quickly collapse Thursday in a crushing defeat. Allies of Speaker McCarthy pleaded with a handful of right-flank holdouts to resist further disruptions that have ground the House to a halt and back his latest plan to keep the government open.
Congress still faces a Sept. 30 deadline to pass legislation and prevent a shutdown, but House Republicans haven’t reached a deal amongst themselves — let alone the Senate or the White House.
“We are calling out how a shutdown would damage our community’s economy and national security and we’re going to hold extreme House Republicans accountable,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a briefing on Monday.
McCarthy said over the weekend that Americans should not expect a shutdown.
Meanwhile, the Senate will likely pass a stopgap funding bill this week and send it to the House.
Former President Donald Trump insisted Monday that Biden will be blamed for a shutdown and urged Republicans to dig into their demands, arguing that unless they “get everything,” lawmakers should “shut it down.”